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Ask earthsister Your Own Question

earthsister, Parent
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 141
Experience:  Home Child Care Provider, and mother of 4; two pre-teen boys and twin baby girls.
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Hi. Im a parent to a 13 year old boy. Yesterday, I discovered

Customer Question

Hi. I'm a parent to a 13 year old boy. Yesterday, I discovered from a family member that my son accused his cousin of stealing $20 from him. After confronting his cousin, he took a rather expensive ($100) watch from his cousin. The cousin saw my son taking the watch and did not say anything to his parents and did not stop my son from taking the watch. I noticed the watch on my son's hand and asked where he got it. He claimed he purchased it from Marshall's for $40. I believed him since he had recently gone shopping and had the $40. My son is usually a really good kid. Rarely in trouble, loved by his teachers and very kind-hearted. This is very out of character for him. He knows not to steal, and has never stolen anything. I'm really surprised, and angered by his behavior. I'm also hurt that he lied about where he got the watch. I'm not sure what actions to take and how to discipline him. I should add that his cousin's behavior is also suspicious for not saying anything for months. He has since visited us and hung-around my son and they appeared to have normal hang-outs together. My son is not a bully and his cousin isn't exactly the type to be scared to say anything.....unless there's something going on. Help please
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  earthsister replied 4 years ago.

earthsister :

Good afternoon, I would like to work to assist you today.

earthsister :

What this sounds like to me is an "intimate" back and fourth between cousins. You mentioned that your son's cousin was accused by your son of stealing $20 from him. I am curious whether or not this has been proven to be true, at least among the cousins. Maybe your son's cousin admitted to him that he took $20, and so your son felt obligated to take his watch as a replacement; I am not saying that this is justified, only trying to get insight on why he might have done it. I think that your best option is to have a sit and talk with both of the cousins when they are together, and seemingly in good spirits. Tell them exactly what you are aware of, and allow them to give you their side of the story. If there was no agreement, including an understanding from the parents of your sons cousin, that he should have the watch, I recommend retrieving the watch from your son, and returning it to his cousin's parents. Make sure that the parents of your son's cousin knows about the claim of the $20, and the watch as well; as they are very likely the ones who purchased the watch. By getting the story from all sides, you are better able to know what to do next in terms of discipline for your son. Do express to your son that you do not like that he has lied to you, and that he will have to earn your trust back. A possible good punishment would be to take away some gadget or privilege that he enjoys, and allow him to earn it back through his honesty and good behavior (which it sounds like is not much of a problem). If the issue was that his cousin took $20 from him, let your son know that you can't fight fire with fire; his best option in the future in a situation such as this is to bring the issue to an adult such as yourself, or his aunt or uncle, who can better solve the problem. If you have any other questions, or feel that I have not been helpful in answering your question, please message for "earthsister." Thank you.

Customer :

Thanks for the response. It made me feel better.

Customer :

I guess I'm just really hurt at the fact that he lied to me...and did it very convincingly.

earthsister :

I can definitely understand. Children will lie when they know they are wrong and are afraid of being punished. Be honest with him about what you know about the issue in order to encourage his honesty in return. It sounds like overall you have a great kid!